“The Administrative Law Division, Office of the Judge Advocate General will contact Mr. Klingenschmitt and inform him that, absent an appropriate disclaimer in his correspondence, use of the photograph depicting him in a naval uniform may, in fact, be contrary to federal law.”

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His name is Gordon Klingenschmitt and he is busy making his living on the fringes of the religious right in the US, parlaying his politics and prayer into personal profit. He used to be a Navy Chaplin, and insisted on a court martial when he was disciplined for disobeying. He got his wish, and has made a tidy living on the religious right circuit since. Â

The note above is to Military Religious Freedom Foundation and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Â (.pdf) You can catch up on the AU blog.

Their crime was their April 16th complaint to United States Chief of Naval Operations regarding him representing himself as an active duty member of the US armed forces in his emails and at his website.

Shorty after the complaint was lodged Klingenschmitt updated his website disclaimer.

What is interesting is that his former supervisor has been online more than once, I found this response from the Navy (April 27th, 2009) above and his former Captain’s comment at Dispatches from the Culture Wars.

Perhaps you are getting a clear picture of what I had to deal with for 2 years as this guy’s supervisor. He was like a “bull in a china shop” as he created adversarial relationships throughout the command. I had never seen anyone become “persona non grata” on such an immediate and grand scale. And yet, recognizing that he was inexperienced and had a woefully inadequate theological education, I tried to mentor him and assume some responsibility for his development. All my efforts were frustrated by his idiotic actions at practically every level. There was no doubt in my mind that I was dealing with a certain level of certifiable mental and psychological pathology but I refrained from recommending psychological evaluation because our self-anointed prophet, priest, messiah and king would have declared our attempts to help him as “reprisals” against him.
I am not surprised by anything that he does or says. Each sick action merely confirms my initial assessment that this person is in serious need of help.

Posted by: Norm Holcomb, CAPT, CHC, USN (Ret)

This is his response to the complaint. Klingenschmitt cursed his perceived enemies. There is a theological word for what he is doing, it’s called imprecatory prayer, and no orthodox Christian would do it.

7.  Saturday 25 Apr 09 One-Minute Prayer:

DISCLAIMER: Before you Pharisees send me hate-mail, read this article.


Let us pray. Almighty God, today we pray imprecatory prayers from Psalm 109 against the enemies of religious liberty, including Barry Lynn and Mikey Weinstein, who issued press releases this week attacking me personally. God, do not remain silent, for wicked men surround us and tell lies about us. We bless them, but they curse us. Therefore find them guilty, not me. Let their days be few, and replace them with Godly people. Plunder their fields, and seize their assets. Cut off their descendants, and remember their sins, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Listen below! And call & ask your local Christian radio station to broadcast this 60-second prayer many times throughout the day on Saturday April 25, 2009.

Gawker has the audio, he is distressfully cheerful. I’d take his threats seriously, his odd disengagement to cursing goes beyond biblical context of this psalm.Â
He  was in the Air Force for 11 years before he went into the chaplaincy. Christians in the military are fed up with his behavior.


I’m a conservative, Republican Christian Navy Chaplain who in most things would agree with you. I cannot believe that you have a man like Gordon Klingenschmitt giving the invocation at your meeting. This is embarrassing. The man is a liar who has used alleged discrimination against him, discrimination that in every case has been disproved by Inspectors General, Courts, and EEO investigations. If what he said was true I would support him, but you guys should know better. If you had anyone with any real military background go through his web site and read all his crap you would find out that he is a fraud. There may be some cases of actual discrimination against Christians, in fact I know that there are, but Klingenschmitt is not one of them. Good luck, I’m tired of this kind of acceptance and legitimization of Klingenschmitt’s story by conservatives who should know better. Klingenschmitt’s dissembling makes Bill Clinton’s actions look principled. I’m tired of conservative leaders that I used to respect sinking to such lows. Maybe that’s why we lost the last election and will likely lose the next. You guys are killing us. And by the way Klingenschmitt is no longer a chaplain. He is mere a undesignated line officer because he lost his endorsement and because of his poor performance as an officer. The court martial he brought on himself did not have his new endorsement accepted. Give him the microphone and you will lose the support of many conservative, Christian Chaplains who routinely pray in Jesus name without a problem, no thanks to Klingenschmitt. I’ve been in the military 25 years serving as a line officer and chaplain and I too gave up rank to come in the Navy, as does everyone who comes in at a higher rank from another service to the Chaplain Corps, Medical Corps or Judge Advocate General Corps. If you guys keep this up and decide to let him do the invocation at the Presidential dinner don’t ever count on my support. The least you guys can do is have someone actually research his claims, read his website and look a the Wikipedia article about him (that he himself initially began) before you embarrass yourself.


One Concerned Chaplain (actual name redacted)

That was February 2007 and CPAC cancelled his invite. He was discharged from the Navy a month later. Messianic complexes can be dangerous, reading up on this guy is a classic study of a self-absorbed and delusional man. He needs more than spiritual help, although people of faith can surround and contain him and stop enabling him. The Klingenschmitts in life don’t seek mental health services.
He has had odd moments of clarity, before plunging back into his strange world. After his court martial he voluntarily left the Evangelical Episcopal Church. He can’t stop, and if he doesn’t tip someone else over into violence, who is to to say he wouldn’t disintegrate and dissemble when religious right handlers are through with him?

His former commanding officer has laid out very clearly why chaplains have spoken up publicly about his beliefs. It is a disturbing read. There is a blog  by a former chaplain debunking his claims which could have put an end to his public profiting of persecution complexes in 2007. The issue goes far deeper than one delusional warrior of course.

I commend the men and women of the US armed forces chaplaincy services for speaking up and speaking out.

Jeff Sharlet has an article this month in Harper’s Magazine about the crusade for a Christian Military. (subscription wall) He has an extended post at Killing the Buddha: Jesus Killed Mohammed. The crusade for a Christian Military.

About Bene Diction

Have courage for the great sorrows, And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.

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3 Responses to The imprecatory prayer of Gordon James Klingenschmitt

  1. Pingback: Topics about Gampling » Archive » The imprecatory prayer of Gordon James Klingenschmitt
  2. Padre Steve says:

    Good work and I hope that the JAG takes him down. This guy is a nut-job and disgrace to Christians everywhere and an embarrassment to the military. The man is a USAF Academy Graduate to boot. I know both Chaplain Holcomb and I am the Chaplain who wrote CPAC (When I was still a Republican). His prayers against people are shameful, which I think is why another chaplain entitled his blogs about Klingenfraud “the Shameful Chaplain.” There are several of these but the main site is http://www.shamefulchaplain2.blogspot.com/
    These are a hoot. The guy who set them up is brilliant.
    Feel free to visit my site any time. Steve

  3. Bene Diction says:

    Hi Steve:

    It get’s a lot more interesting and borders on dangerously delusional.

    – Klingenschmitt’s ‘certification’ with the organization he ranted about in his anger at the MMFF and Americans United, let researchers to dig into the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches.

    Full Gospel have gone right off the rails – you can read about them here: http://www.talk2action.org/story/2009/5/20/17201/4681

    Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out.